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WaterSense’s One-Size-Fits-All Program Doesn’t Work

May 6, 2010

Alexandria, VA – September 17 – The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) today questioned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) national one-size-fits-all WaterSense new home specification limiting new home sites to 40 percent grass use; in effect, enforcing a single national standard on how much grass homeowners can plant in their yard, regardless of regional differences in climate and the availability of drought resistant turfgrasses.  Read OPEI’s detailed statement on why the EPA WaterSense program for landscaping is harmful for the environment.

“The WaterSense program has been a trusted label, but its current plan to apply that label indiscriminately to new home lawns is not science-based and has potential adverse effects on the environment.  Reducing grass will decrease the ability to absorb and sequester carbon, and increase runoff, erosion, dust and particulate matter and the heat island effect, as well as lead to the loss of lifestyle benefits,” said Kris Kiser, EVP at OPEI.

Kiser pointed out, “Under current specs for its WaterSense new home specification, no allowances for regional differences in climate or turf species exists. It is a one size-fits-all specification for their turfgrass limitation. This means the amount of grass that can be planted in a wet climate like Seattle would be the same as a desert community in Phoenix.”

“We fully understand that water should be used in a responsible manner, and that’s why the industry believes in best management practices and recommending consumers choose the appropriate grass depending on the climatic region of the country,” said Kiser.  “There a number of drought-resistant grass species available to consumers, and they should be used in water challenged regions. Plants are real, living things not engineered or manufactured to a specific standard. And, if managed responsibly, turfgrass has enormous environmental and lifestyle benefits.”

About the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
OPEI is an international trade association representing the $15 billion landscape, forestry, utility and lawn and garden equipment manufacturing industry. OPEI is a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) in the development of safety standards. Founded in 1952, OPEI represents and promotes the outdoor power equipment industry and ensures the public may continue to benefit from the economic, lifestyle and environmental contributions of landscapes and turfgrass. For more information on OPEI, visit www.OPEI.org.